Doily, knotted lace, cotton, maker and place unknown, 1953-2001
This knotted needle lace doily forms part of an extensive collection of textiles, dress and needlework assembled from 1953 to 2001 by Mrs Helen McLeod Crocker, traveller and collector. Almost thirty countries are represented in the collection. These include Afghanistan, Australia, Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Central Asia, China, Europe, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Lao, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Salvador, Somalia, South America, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen. The inspiration for the collection was grounded in Helen Crocker's desire to preserve the true essence of the societies she encountered. As a result she was very selective in the objects she chose.
Doilies such as this example represent an important pastime for women of the late 1800s to mid 1900s. Women's focus was the home and its decoration was important. Embroidery and crochet provided a much needed creative outlet for some and a restful leisure activity for others, as well as a way to commemorate significant events or supplement the family income. Doilies, and embroidery and crochet work more generally, were an affordable way to personalise and add aesthetic value to the home and were used also in protecting furniture, floors and walls, and keeping insects away from food.
This doily was made between 1953-2001.
The doily was worked in white cotton in knotted needle lace. The doily is quite closely and evenly worked, and the design features a single twelve-pointed star with a large multi-petaled flower at its centre. Mesh fills the spaces between the points of the star, which is surrounded by a patterned ring of lace and finished with a picot edging.